By Susan A. Merkner, Installation Management CommandOctober 18, 2019
Edward Fagan, the only person in the U.S. Army and in the history of the Armed Forces Recreation Centers to head each of the four AFRC resorts, is the recipient of the 2019 Order of the White Plume, the highest medal in support of Army FMWR programs.
Fagan has served as senior supervisor of all four AFRC resorts. He was the assistant general manager at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany; general manager of the Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul, Korea; general manager of Shades of Green in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and currently is general manager of the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii.
Receiving the White Plume award "was a big honor and a total surprise," Fagan said.
Marc Jannsen, chief of hospitality programs (AFRCs and Army Lodging), Installation Management Command G9 Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, presented Fagan with the award June 22 during Fagan's farewell ceremony at Shades of Green.
Fagan now heads the Hale Koa Hotel in Hawaii, which is the largest MWR operation in the Department of Defense, with 817 guestrooms operating at 98% annual occupancy.
"All four of our AFRCs have great employees who come to work excited to do a good job," Fagan said. "Provide them with a good work environment, empower them to do what they need to do, and frequently recognize them for the accomplishments of the organizations is a guiding principle through AFRC organization, which has resulted in four outstanding AFRC resorts and a wonderful vacation experience for our service members and their Families."
UNSURPASSED CARE FOR 23 YEARS
The citation praises Fagan for his 23 years of continuous service, hard work, successful record, experience and dedication. "Under his tutelage, Shades of Green was named by the Department of the Army for having the best anti-terrorism program for stand-alone installations," the citation states. "His care for employees, guests and operations are unsurpassed."
Fagan said the resorts provide opportunities for service members and their Families to vacation in high-cost, world-famous tourist destinations at reasonable military prices. Although each resort has a unique atmosphere and location, the four sites also serve vital roles within AFRC.
"Dragon Hill Lodge and Edelweiss perhaps have the most important mission because they support young service members and their Families deployed in a foreign country far away from home," he said.
"Hale Koa and Shades of Green are the largest AFRCs, and profits from these AFRCs help support Dragon Hill and Edelweiss operations."
During Fagan's three years at Shades of Green, he oversaw business as usual during two hurricanes in Florida: Matthew in 2017 and Irma in 2018. No injuries were reported among the 2,000 guests and employees, despite isolation caused by nearby flooding. Unlike the other AFRCs, Shades of Green is not located on a military installation but instead is leased from the Walt Disney Co., and must comply with their corporate requirements as well as those of the defense department.
The Order of the White Plume, established by the Adjutant General of the Army in 1982, is based on the recipient's extensive experience and knowledge in MWR; their exemplary, selfless service to the nation and the Army; and their efforts to directly and positively impact the quality of life of Soldiers, Families and civilians.
The Army serves as the Department of Defense executive agent for AFRCs. The joint-service Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities provide quality, wholesome, affordable, family-oriented vacation recreation opportunities to service members, their Family members and other authorized patrons (including official travelers) of the total defense force.
In FY2018, AFRC had 1,977 employees, 2,052 room nights and $171.3 million in total revenue.